Approximately 10 people were in attendance for the July 5 meeting. Four agenda items were presented prior to going into a closed session to discuss labor negotiations.
Possible Improvements on Broadway Include Parking Lot Update
Brian Vilmont of Prein&Newhof presented information regarding an infrastructure improvement stating in his letter to City Manager Mike Burns, “I am requesting consensus from City Council to reconfigure Broadway Street and reorienting the city-owned parking lot located on the southwest intersection of Broadway and Main Street.” A list of benefits, drawbacks and other things to considered were also included in the memo, which can be found in the meeting agenda packet found on the city’s website.
A consensus was given to move ahead with considerations for the project, including further communication with King Milling, and approaching the DDA to gauge interest in their participation and help in financing the portion of the project where trees and shrubs would make the location more aesthetically pleasing. The infrastructure improvement bond would cover the rest of the project. A public hearing is likely to be held at a later date to continue discussion and allow residents to comment as the project would close off Broadway to traffic other than trucks heading to or from King Milling.
Grant Application, Riverwalk Street Closings, and Revised Purchasing Policy
Council unanimously approved a resolution which allows City Clerk Sue Ullery to submit a grant application to the Secretary of State for the purchase of a new voting system. If approved funding for the equipment would be paid for through federal and state funding.
In another unanimous vote members of City Council approved the closing of portions of Avery Street and Washington Street during Riverwalk Festival. These closures are for concessions and the Riverwalk Cruise-in both of which have taken place in past years.
Finally, in another 5-0 vote in favor of amending the city’s bidding and purchasing policy. During a recent audit it was noted a purchase was made exceeding the $5,000 limit. An additional item was added to the agreement allowing the City to purchase from preferred vendors. This policy change lines up with that of Lowell Light & Power.
Closed Session: Labor Negotiations
Upon completion of the 32 minute open portion of the meeting a closed session began for the purpose of discussing union negotiations between the city and some DPW employees. The group returned to an open meeting at 8:20 and ended the meeting at 8:21. No decisions were made regarding the contract.
During their June 5 meeting council ratified the labor contract between the city and the Lowell Police Department after closed session discussion.
City Manager Report
During the city manager report Mike Burns said he’s looking forward to participating in his first Riverwalk Festival this weekend. He also thanked Impact Church for all of the projects they worked on last week singling out Bob Rogers for his part in coordinating projects, project leaders and volunteers.
The new VOIP phone system was installed two weeks ago. So far there are a few hiccups but overall the system is much better than what was previously used. Burns indicated it’s “working well”.
On August 7 at 5:30pm, prior to the City Council meeting, there will be a committee of the whole meeting to discuss the issue of a medical marijuana dispensary within city limits. During citizen comments at the June 5 meeting representatives from Buzz Solutions, LLC formally requested the city consider this issue. Buzz Solutions as well as someone from the Kent County Prosecutor’s office will make presentations to council on this topic.
In a brief update on Chief Bukala the court case continues to be heard in Allegan County. Burns indicated he would wait for a decision by the court prior to announcing any disciplinary action on his part.
The next City Council meeting will take place in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall on Monday, July 17 at 7pm. Meeting minutes and agendas can be found on the city’s website. And meetings can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel. Or check in with Lowell’s First Look after each meeting for a recap of what happened.